how retailers and consumers are changing their behavior
2022 will be more than 10% for food products according to NielsenIQ and Iri, and more than 7% for the entire economy according to INSEE, with the return of inflation in the minds of consumers. There is growing concern about the feeling of expensive living and purchasing power.
For consumers, this rapid inflation has very specific consequences, more or less strong depending on their profile. The most humble categories are the most affected, even if no one has been spared so far. Therefore, we see behavioral changes with less full shopping baskets, but higher amounts to be paid at the checkout, or even a reduction in store visits or purchases of certain products such as fruit and vegetables and meat to be less tempting.
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Consumers may also change their habits in terms of brand, preferring from large and medium-sized stores (GMS (hard discounters or destockers)) or in terms of brands to distributor brands (MDD) or first price (PPx) to national brands (MN). Often, pre-existing reflexes are exacerbated by the anticipation of higher prices, promotions, the use of price comparators or certain purchases with jackpots that are stored or linked to a loyalty card.
An opportunity for brands
For distributors, the increase in the selling prices of food products due to inflation has led to a decrease in their margins or the need for restructuring (at the head office or store level). But brands can also see it as an opportunity to adapt to their customers’ new expectations, strengthen their price image and recruit or retain their private labels.
Thus, concrete measures are implemented. These can take different forms. In stores, brands can place shopping carts in front of the main entrance, for example, reflecting different prices of equivalent products. These actions can also occur outside of stores, such as ads highlighting distributor brands’ incredible prices and especially first-rate prices, or promising to block them, or even comparison ads with national brands, etc. .
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All of these actions have a significant impact on consumers’ perceptions of retailers and allow them to rank them according to the investment they perceive in protecting their purchasing power.
Certain activities based more on private labels and PPx can help recruit and retain consumers, firstly for these brands and secondly for the retailer that offers them.
A more responsible consumer?
What if the inflation hitting consumers was also an opportunity to adopt more responsible purchasing and consumption behaviors? Indeed, some consumers are (re)discovering special offers that they didn’t necessarily pay attention to before. These suggestions may lead them to think about the effects of their consumption, but more generally on our systems of production and consumption, and then question it.
In terms of food, some consumers are (re)discovering stores’ anti-waste or zero-waste areas, or their anti-waste or zero-waste basket offerings (with good-by products or (slightly) sub-optimal products) to damaged, low-end products. close to download, not standardized, etc.) They (re)discover products in bulk, implanted or in the corner or in their original department, which allows them to take only the quantities they really need and especially not more.
These special offers certainly allow us to save money initially, but they also allow us to limit food waste or the waste associated with our use of resources (plastic, cardboard, etc.). Finally, they can, if necessary, lead to reflections on our production systems, which are sometimes too intensive, or our distribution systems, which are sometimes too selective.
At the non-food level, some consumers are also turning to other modes of consumption, preferring to rent rather than buy, thus valuing the functionality of products over ownership. Others turn to second-hand products with the circular logic of products, which may have several lives.
Thrift shop at Auchan
Still, if these special offers allow us to score what we might initially consider good deals, they also make us question ourselves about our needs and purchasing desires, reflect on the factors that prompt them, and consider their real needs and the short- and long-term impact on our environment. effects.
Consequently, distributors are adapting to these new behaviors by focusing more on efforts to limit waste in their stores, focusing more on anti-waste or zero-waste zones, or their association with programs such as Phenix or Too good to go. , for creating anti-waste or zero-waste baskets.
Brands are also starting to open “corners” dedicated to second-hand goods on their own or with the help of second-hand goods (for example, for Auchan joining the second-hand clothing retailer Patatam) or for rent (for example, with Seb for Casino in kitchen appliances), thus new learn professions so that these opportunities are not avoided by staying only in peer logic.
These different moves, even if they involve spending and acquiring new skills, allow distributors to focus on their image as responsible brands that invest in corporate social responsibility (CSR).
It remains to be seen whether this logic of consuming better, in the sense of consuming less, is only relevant to the current period or will continue. To answer this question, an interesting parallel can be drawn with pandemics and prison terms. About three years ago, related to these events that affect us, many thoughts emerged about different consumption, better consumption (in short cycles, local products, seasonal, organic, etc.) and thus the need to evolve. right direction”.
Unfortunately, some practices adopted during these confinement periods long before the current inflation do not become habits. Will it be the same in the behaviors adopted by distributors and consumers today?
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.